One of the joys/downsides of having so many international players in the squad is the way the starting XV is stretched during both the autumn Internationals and 6 Nations. The Premiership Rugby Cup softens some of the blow, but there are two Premiership Rugby games during this AI spell. The first for Saracens being Sale Sharks, the second Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.
Amazingly Chris Wyles, who retired at the end of last season started for Saracens, he was facing Denny Solomona, that’s one brave man! I saw Solomona play rugby league for London Broncos, his physique is almost unrecognisable to that of his league days, he’s a scary prospect!
Far de Klerk featured for Sale, with so much overlap with South Africa’s schedule Sale and Jim Diamond have reached an accord with country to ensure de Klerk’s club aren’t without him for too long, he’s a key player for both club and country.
Michael Rhodes released by England scored the first try of the match after Sale had taken the lead with a penalty from Rob du Preez. Things took a bad turn for the home team when Will Skelton was lazy at best in his follow through on du Preez, he was rightly sent to the bin for 10 minutes. However, Saracens scored 2 tries while he was absent! The first through winger Alex Lewington, then Nick Tompkins went over 3 minutes later, quite remarkable really!
Byron McGuigan kept his team in the game with a great try on the verge of half time. The teams went in with the score on Saracens 21 Sale 13.
From the goings on in the second half it felt like Saracens had a bit of a snooze at half time and Sale had an inspirational shouting session! Sale took the lead with a succession of penalties, du Preez had his kicking boot on and took his team to 25, ahead of the home team. Ben Spencer, on kicking duty for the day, took the differential to a single point with a penalty of his own.
Joel Kpoku, a man who’s becoming a crowd favourite came on and saved the day for Saracens going over the line from a rolling maul to score the winning and bonus point try, that was on his Premiership debut, a match to remember. Sale had a chance to even the scores but du Preez had an unusual miss, Ben Spencer added a further 3 points and the victory went to Saracens with the final score being Saracens 31 Sale 25. Ben Spencer was awarded the Man of The Match accolade.
I’m pleased to say Captain America survived the game unscathed, the funniest moment of the afternoon was when the ball hit Alex Sanderson on the head his bow to the crowd would have graced any stage!